NEW DELHI: He is yet to come to the party in the truest sense, but being part of a winning outfit means the spirit is upbeat and you remain in the best frame of mind to produce a performance that makes a difference. Delhi Capitals (DC) have taken this IPL season by storm and their West Indian recruit Shimron Hetmyer is trying to make the most of this learning experience. POINTS TABLE |
With one foot in the playoffs door already and four matches still to play, the Delhi franchise is enjoying the view from the top of the points table. Seven wins in 10 matches is the best position that a team from Delhi has ever found itself in before moving into the business end of an IPL season. The most promising aspect of that winning run perhaps has been different players raising their hand to write the winning script on different occasions; and that, according to Hetmyer, has been the hallmark of this DC squad.
“I feel our team is full of match-winners, and there’s no doubt about it,” says the 23-year-old Guyanese talking to Timesofindia.com. “Each player is determined about what role he has been asked to play. In each game, you see a different individual stepping up and getting the team through the line, and that’s what our story has been so far in this tournament.”
From the dependable Shikhar Dhawan and skipper Shreyas Iyer to the all-round skills of Marcus Stoinis, Delhi have never found themselves short of consistent performers in this edition. And whenever, the team has found itself in little strife, individuals like R Ashwin and Axar Patel have stepped up to the plate. Not to forget the 44 Hetmyer scored against Rajasthan Royals as his personal best of the season so far and the way Anrich Nortje and Kagiso Rabada, the current Purple Cap-holder, have made a name for themselves as the most dreaded fast-bowling pair of the tournament has served Delhi very well.
“We’ve got a well-balanced squad and the coaching staff has done well to keep everyone focused on the task at hand and at their peak at the same time. So yeah, a good mix of experienced and young players makes our team solid, along with the great supporting staff, consisting of legends of the game,” said Hetmyer, who has the second best strike rate (150.74) for DC, behind Stoinis’s 158.04.
But given the role of the team’s finisher, the left-handed batsman from the Caribbean would surely want to do better than the 101 runs he has scored in the seven matches he has played so far.
“For now, I’m learning the art of being a better finisher, the role I’ve been asked to play for the team. I’ve always been a player who puts his team first, so I am ready to play wherever and in whichever situation I am asked to play (in). I also think that a finisher’s role is always challenging in T20s. Wherever I have to go in (to bat), I try to stick to the basics and try to give my 100 percent,” Hetmyer further told TimesofIndia.com about his stint so far this season.
Hetmyer made headlines a few days back when he revealed how coach Ricky Ponting is helping him perfect the pull shot. Adding to that, he said that the Australian legend’s guidance is helping him “grow” as a person as well.
“Ricky is a legend of the game, and I’m making the most of the time spent with him. You see, we are a team full of youngsters as well, and I guess training under him is helping us grow not only as batsmen but also as individuals,” said Hetmyer, who led the West Indies colts to their maiden U-19 World Cup title in 2016.
PITCHES SLOWING DOWN
With the IPL being played at only three venues in the UAE — Sharjah, Dubai and Abu Dhabi, the pitches have been overworked, with 40 matches in 34 days till date. That’s a lot to ask from sand-based tracks, which is why the average totals have started coming down even at Sharjah, a usually high-scoring venue with short boundaries.
“Well, the pitches have definitely got slower, and it’s three different venues, so it’s kind of different for each one of them,” said Hetmyer.
“Like in Sharjah, which is a batsman’s paradise, you can see the scores have gone (down) now from the time the matches began, right? I mean, every team was scoring 200 plus, but that’s not happening now. And as we go along, because of the nature of the pitches changing, I reckon chasing will become harder too.” Hetmyer further told TimesofIndia.com.
(Hetmyer, left, with Marcus Stoinis – ANI Photo)
Does being a left-hander and providing the team a different option help in such a situation?
“It definitely can be a factor, but it’s not the only one. Our side has quite a few lefties. The flexibility comes in totally depending on what sort of situation we are in at that point. Does a left-hander have to go in to ensure we keep a left-right combination out there in the middle? How many runs do we need at that point? Do we need some stability because we have lost a few wickets? Do we need to go after the bowlers because we need quick runs? It depends on all of this really,” he explained.
Before signing off, Hetmyer touched upon what he wanted from himself as a batsman, especially while representing the West Indies.
“Well, playing for the West Indies has always been a dream for me, and I’ve been fortunate to have the opportunity to represent the team in world cricket. I have been a member for a few years now, but what I want from myself is more consistent performances for the team, and to be able to perform against the best in the world,” said Hetmyer, who has played 16 Tests, 45 ODIs and 25 T20Is since making his international debut in April 2017.
“I just want to keep improving every single day, and make sure I’m focused on what I need to do.”